HL Deb 30 July 1982 vol 434 cc511-2WA
Earl Alexander of Tunis

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make a statement about the visit to Gibraltar by the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Lord Belstead

I visited Gibraltar from 21st to 23rd July and had wide-ranging and useful discussions with the Gibraltar Government and with representatives of many sectors of opinion in Gibraltar. One of the topics I discussed was the effects the continued closure of the Spanish frontier will have on Gibraltar's economy. I made clear that the Government will continue their policy of supporting and sustaining Gibraltar and I gave details of the projects already approved in connection with the £4 million of aid agreed in December 1981.

I confirmed that the Government have no plans to alter the decision to close the naval dockyard in 1983. I also made it clear that, if both the British and Gibraltar Governments conclude that a commercial operation is viable, then the British Government will consider carefully ways in which we might help to get it launched. I reaffirmed the Government's commitment to the process envisaged in the Lisbon agreement. The Government look forward to the complete removal of Spanish restrictions and the re-establishment of normal relations between people living in the area.